I've been following a very interesting discussion on Tom's blog and rather than muddle his blog, I'll post my thoughts here.
I never thought it made any difference. Christian or non-Christian. You decide how many children you want and then you have that many (God willing, of course). Once your perfect family is complete, use any number of available birth control methods to ensure (to the best of your ability) that you don't have any more except through God's divine intervention or forgetfulness. I never thought that one birth control method would be better or worse than another and I never thought how those various methods actually worked either. I only thought that they prevented pregnancy in varying states of permanence and that was the point. At least, it was the only thing I was interested in.
I have always thought that 2 children were plenty. I came from a family with 2 children. I had less fear of a total uprising with an equivalent number of parents and children. We would have an even number of people for rides at Astroworld (which I realize is now deceased). We would have no middle child and thus, no middle child syndrome...everything would be even. (Although, to be completely honest, nothing in my family has ever been even or equal.)
Brian has always had his heart set on 3. He comes from a family of 3 sons and so this seems like a perfect number to him.
And the debate continues. Brian is wise in that he knows not to push me on any particular issue. Pushing any issue will only cause me to run at breakneck speed to the other side. However, time continues to show that I usually come to where I need to be. Cases in point: breastfeeding, being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling.
I am beginning to see the problem in all this...my feminism. If you had asked me 15 years ago what the course of my life was going to be...it wasn't going to be as a wife and mother. I saw no importance in that whatsoever. Of course, part of that thinking was due to the fact that I strongly believed that I would never find anyone to marry me and that I had been told it was very unlikely that I would ever have children.
I was taught that you had to depend on yourself and be able to take care of yourself.
When I heard men talking about not using birth control, I would get my nose way out of joint. Women, not that I heard very many in my social circle talking about unlimited children, I just thought were nuts. At least the women would actually be carrying the child and taking care of it instead of issuing a directive while going off to the office and talking to people who can talk back.
When I told my mother that Brian wanted 3 and I only wanted 2, she confirmed what I was thinking. He wasn't the one that was going to have to carry it and have it and take care of it. So he didn't get a vote.
And that's the way I was raised and that is the way I think, initially at gut-reaction level. It is my decision how many children to have or whether to work or to homeschool or even to have pink carpet.
Biblically, I know my role is to be the heart of the home. To take care of my husband and my children. To be Brian's helper. Some days I like doing that. Some days, I'd like to leave and never come back. And on those days, I wonder...what about me? I didn't finish college and I still have some aspirations of finishing. Sometimes it makes me feel like a failure. I don't have something that's just mine. Everything I have, I have to share. I wonder if I would have the same selfish attitude to overcome if being able to "take care of myself" hadn't been drilled into my head for as long as I can remember.
With that selfish attitude on my role in this family, is the selfish attitude that I don't want any more of God's blessings, thank you very much. Two are just fine with me. I am just starting to realize how ridiculous that sounds. Why in the world would I want to tell God to keep His blessings? There is no wisdom in that statement. Don't get me wrong, I have good worldly reasons. We are living in a 900 square foot apartment! I have plenty of good reasons to not want more children. I am being convicted HARD CORE on two levels that this way of thinking is wrong, wrong, wrong. One level is the form of birth control we are using. We both feel that this is wrong. This has been on my heart for a while. I have started reading 2 books that addressed this topic in one fashion or another and when I read that part, I put the book back on the shelf. Nope. Not interested in hearing that.
And the second, well, that's the trust issue. I feel like we need to trust God that He will give or not give us what we can handle. I feel certain it says that somewhere in the Bible. Frankly, it's a very simple point, as points go. You know, let God do His thing. One thing that we've been able to tie this to is our feeling of debt and letting God take care of those needs.
Brian and I feel very strongly about not going into any further debt. When we were getting ready to sell the house, we were in a big hurry and had to get a lot of things done that we had intended to get done over time. People were starting to want their money. I told Brian that we needed to get a loan so that we could take care of these immediate needs and then pay off the balance when the house sold. Brian said "no" and we put our faith in God instead of Wells Fargo and everything was taken care of. Only one company asked to be paid at a time. Brian got the moving allowance way ahead of schedule. All these little things happened so that we were able to honor our commitments.
Now. God wants us to put our trust and faith in Him, in all things. In fact, I'm sure I read somewhere that "without faith, it is impossible to please God." He also says things like, "Fear not" and that He will supply all our needs according to His riches in glory. I guess the question is....are we going to trust in God or trust in ourselves? I feel like God is telling me to trust in Him on this particular issue that He's hammering on me. His ways are not our ways and our ways are not His ways. And Brian's thinking is basically, look twice at whatever you're doing that the world agrees with...
My next hot topic is going to be....Should we encourage (or pay for) our daughters to go to college?